Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Day Cake

Fresh out of the oven and before glazing.
YUM!  Ready to eat.
     In honor of Election Day 2010 I dug out a recipe I had cut out of a magazine years ago.  Apparently, this is a traditional cake recipe that was made every election day for decades after the Revolution. It is leavened with yeast and has a slow raising time.. 5-7 hours and so was usually mixed up the night before.  Yeast was not all that reliable back then, and many a housewife lay awake worrying that her cake would not raise correctly.  It was a matter of pride to serve up a beautiful Election Day Cake.  I had never made a cake with yeast before so I was excited to try it.  I did make a few changes to the original recipe.  I'm not a huge fan of raisins so I used half raisins and half dried cranberries for the fruit.  I used orange juice instead of brandy and I baked it in my mini bundt pan so I could share it with some friends.  (Bill and I certainly do not need a big bundt cake for just the two of us!)   And, it is just as well that I planned to give most of it away.  This is one delicious cake!  Yep, I think we have just found (or is that rediscovered?) a new tradition!  Really you need to try this one- it is so good. I can see lots of possibilities with this recipe.. Next time I think I will see what cranberry juice will taste like..and for sure some pecans.
1 envelope dry yeast
1 T sugar
1/2 cup warm milk
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brandy (can sub orange juice or cranberry juice)
1 cup raisins
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp mace
1/2 cup flour, for raisins

1 cup powdered sugar
2 T milk
 1 tsp vanilla

1) Dissolve yeast and 1 T sugar in warm milk.  Stir in 1/2 cup flour.  Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in warm place until sponge becomes bubbly, about 2-3 hours.

2) Pour brandy or juice over raisins in a small bowl and set aside to soak for 2-3 hours.

3) When ready to prepare batter, cream butter and 1 cup sugar together in a large bowl.  Add eggs, one at a time, and beat the mixture until light and fluffy.

4) Drain brandy or juice off raisins.  Set raisins aside.

5) Combine 1 cup flour with spices and stir into butter mixture alternately with brandy or juice.  Add yeast mixture and beat thoroughly.  Mix raisins with 1/2 cup flour and stir into batter.

6) Pour batter into a well-buttered tube pan or loaf pan and let dough rise until nearly doubled in bulk.  This dough rises slowly and should sit in a warm place for 5-6 hours or overnight.

7) Bake at  350 for 50-60 minutes.  Cool slightly before removing cake from pan to cool on wire rack.  Spread cooled cake with glaze.

GLAZE:  Mix  powdered sugar, milk and vanilla until well combined and spread on cake.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I'm back!

Ok,  After 55 days on an HCG diet of eating a VERY limited selection of food, today I began 3 weeks of a fairly strict maintenance protocol- no starch or sugar.  But, that's alright with me. Right now I feel practically giddy about being able to eat a variety of fruits, lean meat and veggies again!  Life is good!  :)  For breakfast I feasted scrambled eggs and some of the sweetest honeydew melon I have ever tasted.  Lunch was a simple meal of chicken breast, steamed green beans and a nectarine.. Heaven!
     I have to say I have really missed the challenge of trying new recipes so I am way excited to get back into my kitchen and see what healthy goodies I can discover.  In celebration, for dinner, I am trying a new recipe- Silky Cauliflower Soup. I love cauliflower and can hardly wait to try it.  It sounds delicious and easy (love easy!).  I don't have any  Parmesan though, so I think I'll try cheddar for the crisps instead.  Hey, what's not to like about Cheddar and cauliflower? Seems like a natural combo to me.
We really liked it- I loved it that it came across as a cream soup even though it had no cream or flour in it.  However, it was a little on the bland side because I left out the Parmesan cheese.  Next time I will make it as written and I'm sure it will be even better.  Also, I might leave it a little chunky instead of totally blending it- just cause we really like cauliflower. Some ham or Canadian bacon would be yummy too.. maybe some peas?  Yep, this is a great starter recipe- really versatile.  I think I will be making this one often.
     By the way,  I made Cheddar Crisps to go with the soup and they turned out great!  I just didn't manage to get a picture before we scarfed them down.  Picture crispy, melted cheese.. are you picturing it?  THAT's why we didn't wait for pictures.  YUM

Friday, July 16, 2010

Betcha Can't Eat Just One!


One of my favorite bloggers in the whole wide world- that would be Chef Tess Bakeress-  issued a challenge last week to try using a fresh herb in something new.  Well, since I love challenges and since I just happen to have a super abundance of basil in my garden right now.. I decided this one was right down my alley. Normally, when I'm looking for a  recipe these days, the first place I look is online. (What did we ever do before the internet?)  But, I figured since it was a challenge after all.. I really aught to make an effort to dig up something on my own.  So, I began rummaging back thru my old cookbooks.. cough.. oh, dear, cough..it seems they are just a 'mite' dusty.  Guess it has been awhile!  LOL  Anyway, I did manage to rediscover one of my favorite 'browsers'.  You know, those cookbooks that its so fun to read thru and you're sure you will try all those recipes as soon as______ fill in the blank.  Well, in my case, it was always as soon as I finally managed to grow an herb garden.  Guess what?  I actually have an herb garden this year!  Granted, it only has 4 herbs in it, but that counts, right??
       Anyway, the book is Herbal Treasures by Phyllis V. Shaudys and the recipe I decided to make was 'Opal Basil Cheddar Crisps'.  Oh, my goodness- this was something I really should have tried years ago!  They are delicious- crispy and chewy all at once, and full of cheesy 'numminess'. (That really aught to be a word if it isn't- I'm just sayin'.) The basil is not the main event here but really more of a subtle background flavor that makes everything else work.  The recipe says to serve them hot- and they are at their best warm, but I love them cold too. I'm so glad I finally got a chance to try this one!  Thanks again, Chef Tess!  :)  PS Make these for a party or quickly pass them out to your neighbors- they are definitely NOT low fat and way too hard to resist.  Enjoy!

Opal Basil Cheddar Crisps
Yield: 40 snacks
8 ounces medium-sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 tsp. Tabasco sauce (I used Chipotle)
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1 cup flour
2 Tbsp. chopped purple opal basil
1 1/2 cups crisp rice cereal

Preheat oven to 350.  In a large bowl mix the cheese, butter, Tabasco sauce, and mustard.  Blend in the flour and basil.  When combined, stir in the cereal and blend well.  Shape into small balls.  Place on a greased baking sheet and flatten with the bottom of a lightly floured glass.  Bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes.  Serve hot.  The crisps may be stored for several days in an airtight container or frozen.  Reheat for 5 minutes as needed.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy July 4th!

I have had a marvelous time this week surfing food and craft blogs enjoying all the wonderful creative ways people have of celebrating the birthday of our country.  I really do love this holiday!  It never has taken much to get my patriotic juices flowing but, after having lived overseas for 9 years, I have come to appreciate this celebration even more.  I am so grateful to be an American.
     This year is kind of a laid back holiday for us.. no family in town to fuss over.  But, I couldn't let the occasion go by without doing something kind of fun to mark the occasion.  So, we had some 'Star Spangled Strawberry Shortcake'.. er Biscuits.  I know, people think I'm strange to serve strawberries on biscuits instead of cake, but, that's the way my mom always made it and I still prefer it that way.  She would slice the berries, sprinkle sugar on top, then mash them up a little to make sure there would be plenty of juice.  After a couple of tastes to make sure the berries would be sweet enough,  into the fridge they would go (she always called it the ice box) to chill for several hours.  They were then served over hot biscuits for a delicious summertime treat.  Heaven!
     I made them exactly the same way, just cutting the biscuits into stars.  I thought they looked quite festive served on my favorite blue plates.  Bill's touch was to add some vanilla ice cream.  Perfect for a hot summer day!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Grilled Zucchini

Oh, Wow.  We just had the most amazing zucchini! First of all I should mention that our poor little zucchini plants only produced 2 zucchini before giving up in the Arizona heat.  Hubby fried up one with eggs for breakfast as per his traditional way.  But, we decided we wanted to do something different and special with the 2nd one.  So.. I did some surfing and found this  recipe for Grilled Zucchini at Kalyn's Kitchen (one of my all time favorite sites) and figured it would be a perfect match for Grilled Basil Lemon Chicken.  As it turned out, I was sooooo right.  Unfortunately, we had a horde of hungry kids crowded around the food the minute it came off the grill- No time for pictures. (The grandkids are in town.  Yay!) But, because it really was so delish, I selfishly chose to ignore all good food blogger ethics, and blog about it anyway, even without a picture.  This is one recipe I don't want to lose.  I'm sure I will make this many times this summer and I solemnly promise I will take a picture and post it here.  In the meantime, Kalyn took gorgeous pictures and a complete step by step.  So zip on over to her site to see what they look like.. Trust me, they taste as good as they look!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

What is Blue, Hot and Sweet- all at the same time?

 I found this recipe back in March and have been wanting to try it ever since.  I'm a real 'gringo' when it comes to hot and spicy food, but, for some reason, this one really intrigued me.  Today I took the plunge.  Living in Arizona makes finding all the different peppers easy.. well, ok, we had to go to two stores, but, that's not too bad, right?  Surprisingly, this went together really fast.  It didn't take long at all to  cut and de-seed all the peppers. Then I just plunked them in the food processor, pulsed a couple of times and the prep was basically done.  It actually took longer to sterilize the bottles.  Of course, it still takes time to bring the ingredients up to a rolling boil twice, but, that's just part of making jam.  
      I was pleased with the yield too- I got 12 half pints with a little bit left over for tasting.  And, the tasting was the fun part!  It really is good (she modestly says)- hot, peppery and sweet all at the same time.  Bill's comment was 'Who needs to eat it WITH anything?  Its great all by itself!"  LOL    All in all.. I'd say it was a hit!    I plan on using these little gems for hostess gifts this summer.We have quite a bit of traveling planned to visit friends and family and these should come in quite handy.  (Act surprised if you read this first!)   Hopefully, everyone will enjoy it as much as we have.  :)

  • 2 large red bell peppers
  • 2 large green bell peppers
  • 2 large poblano peppers
  • 2 large slim jim or Anaheim peppers
  • 8 jalepeno peppers
  • 2 c. fresh blueberries
  • 1 c. vinegar
  • ½ c. lemon juice
  • 1 pkg. sure gel
  • 8 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. butter

Cut peppers in half and remove most of the seeds.  On hot peppers, the more seeds that are left, the hotter they will be.  Cut peppers into chunks, run through blender with vinegar and lemon juice to puree coarsely. 
        Pour into pan, stir in whole blueberries and Sure Gel. Over medium heat, bring to a rolling boil, then add ALL of the sugar at the same time.  (Pre-measure it into a large bowl.) Add butter to help reduce foaming.        Stir well, and return to a full boil (one that cannot be stirred down) and boil 5 minutes. Remove from heat.  
      Pour into clean, sterilized 8 oz. [I used 4oz] canning jars.  Wipe rims, put on lids and screw on rings snugly.  Place in boiling water bath and process 5 minutes.  Let cool out of drafts and check for seal after 1 hour.  Any jars that have not sealed properly will need to be refrigerated and used within 2 weeks.
     This jam is usually a “soft set” jam, which means it spreads easily and works very well as a glaze for chicken or pork too.  Its good on toast or biscuits with eggs, or as an unusual but tasty ice cream topping.  The blueberries can also be pureed with the peppers if you prefer a smoother jelly texture.  I happened to like the surprise of the whole berries in the jam!

Lemon Chicken and Gravy

Ok, be honest, didn't that title grab you the minute you read it?  Or am I the only one who is a total lemon freak?  I really love chicken and lemon together, and adding thyme (fresh out of my herb garden) and parsley sounded like a lovely addition.  Had to try it!
       I decided this also sounded like a perfect recipe to make in the sun oven.  I plan to use the sun oven and barbeque grill a lot for the next few months.  We are fast sliding into that time of year in Arizona.. HOT.  Ugly, nasty, ridiculously HOT.  And, my Scottish blood really hates to heat up the kitchen with the stove and oven only to have to turn around and crank up the AC so we can breathe.  Air conditioners are wonderful, but they're also dang expensive!  So, even as I type this, my lovely little sun oven is busy doing its thing and cooking our dinner.  I have to say, its had a full day- I also made my first loaf of whole wheat bread in it this afternoon.  And, IT WORKED!  How fun is that??
       Here is the link to the Taste of Home recipe  Lemon Chicken and Gravy.  I didn't change anything except to use chicken thighs instead of breasts.

Verdict:  Delicious!  Bill and I both loved it. The chicken was moist and tender and beautifully seasoned with a lovely lemon flavor.  Very 'gourmet'.  :)  I served it with brown rice, steamed broccoli and sliced tomatoes- the perfect summer dinner.   The only change I think I would make next time would be to greatly reduce the butter.. maybe to 1 Tbsp?  The gravy turned out to be quite fatty- probably because I used thighs instead of breasts.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Taste of Home Oatmeal Dinner Rolls

Ok, this isn't exactly the type of recipe I would normally use in this blog, but, hey, oatmeal counts as a healthy 'good for you' ingredient, right?  When I was asked to make some rolls to take to a funeral luncheon the other day, I thought it would be a great opportunity to share one of my all time favorite recipes- Here is the online Taste of Home recipe for  Oatmeal Dinner Rolls
     Hubby and I first tasted these at a potluck dinner party while we were living in Germany a few years ago.  It was love at first bite!  I had been making another roll recipe for years- in fact, had even become fairly well known for my rolls.  But, these oatmeal rolls just blew both of us away.  They are SOOO good!  I begged the recipe from my good friend Liz and these rolls are now my personal choice over my old standby 'Cloud Light Crescent Rolls'.  (The crescents are the rolls on my header.  I will post that recipe next time I make them.) Of course, the family still insists I make the crescent rolls  for holiday dinners- they are emphatic about them being TRADITION! (Can you hear the fiddle and Tevye singing??)  :)
       Anyway, here is the recipe Liz gave me- the proportions are a little larger than the online recipe:

Oatmeal Dinner Rolls


  • 2 1/2 cups boiling water
  • 2 cup quick-cooking oats [do not substitute 'Old Fashioned Oats', it doesn't work. Bet you can guess how come I know that!  LOL]
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
  • 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • 5 1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour


  • In a saucepan, bring water to a boil; add oats, sugar, salt and butter. Cook and stir for 1 minute. Remove from the heat; cool to lukewarm.(110 degrees)
  • In a bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let sit for 5 minutes. Add the oat mixture and 2 cups of flour; beat until smooth. Continue adding enough of remaining flour to form a soft dough.
  • Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
  • Punch dough down; allow to rest for 10 minutes. Shape into 20 balls. Place in two greased 9-in. round baking pans. [I usually put them in a 9x13 baking pan] Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour.
  • Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to wire racks. 
  •  Yield: 20 rolls

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sausage Seasoning

Do you love the flavor of sausage but not all that fat?  Have I got a secret for you!  I found this Sausage Seasoning recipe a zillion years ago in a cookbook that is now out of print. Her original recipe made an entire cup but, I don't use it fast enough to make that much, so I cut it down by a third.  I most often use it to flavor ground beef or turkey but have also used it in unflavored TVP (Texturized Vegetable Protein) with good success.  Its just a nice little seasoning mix to have tucked away in your spice drawer. I generally use it to taste but about 1 tsp per pound of ground meat would be a good starting point.

Sausage Seasoning
adapted from The Gluten Book by Le Arta Moulton

1 Tbsp Rosemary, ground 
4  heaping Tbsp Sage, ground 
2 heaping Tbsp Salt
1 heaping Tbsp Marjoram-
(mathematically it comes out to 1 T + 1/3 tsp.. 'heaping' works for me)
1 heaping Tbsp Basil                         "
1 heaping Tbsp Cayenne                   "
1 heaping Tbsp Garlic Salt                "
For a more spicy flavor add a
shake or two of dried red pepper chillies, powdered.

Combine all ingredients.
Yield approx 1/3 cup.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fast and Low Cal- Does it Get any Better?

I've been wanting to try this recipe for awhile now.  It appeals to me because it has just a few ingredients that I usually have on hand and doesn't require a lot of pre-planning like most marinades.  (I love meals I can throw together quickly because I'm really not the organized type.)  And, I get to use fresh herbs from my garden!  I love that!  Sure do hope this turns out to be a keeper.  :)

Quick and Low-Cal Grilled Bistro Chicken Recipe #152742

25 min | 5 min prep
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise [I used 1/4 c mayonnaise and 1/4 c water]
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary leaves [I used 1 1/2 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped]
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves [I used 1 1/2 tsp fresh thyme]
  • 1/2 teaspoon  garlic salt
  • 1/2 lemon, juice of
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/4 lb.)[I used thighs]
  1. Stir together all the herbs, mayo, and lemon juice. Brush on the chicken.
  2. Light your grill about 20 minutes before grilling the chicken. Allow the chicken to soak up the first brushing.
  3. Place on the grill and cook until done, continuing to brush the mixture on the chicken until done.
© 2009 Recipezaar. All Rights Reserved. http://www.recipezaar.com

Verdict: Bill and I both really enjoyed this chicken.  It had a very subtle, almost delicate, flavor of lemon and herbs and was very moist.  I think maybe next time I might use more of the fresh herbs to heighten the flavor a little bit.  And, just for fun, I'll probably add a little lemon zest. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Time for Comida ! (or the way to Hubby's heart!)

For dinner tonight we're trying a Black Bean Chicken Casserole from Taste of Home.  Normally, I'm not a huge Mexican food fan (can you say GRINGO?!) but Bill loves it and black beans are my favorite legume.  So..I decided I would trust the recipe reviews, take a chance, and do a little 'walkin' on the wild side' with this recipe.. LOL  Actually, since the only spicy ingredient is 1/2 cup of salsa, I think I'm probably pretty safe. This one goes together fast and, I have to say, it sure does smell good in our kitchen right now. With a nice tossed salad on the side and little bit of sour cream garnish.. should be quite tasty.
Verdict:  YUM-MO as Rachel would say.  I loved it!  Bill liked it too.. once he had doctored it up with a bit more heat, that is.  :)  He added some jalapeno rings on top for a little extra garnish.  But, the flavors really were a delightful blend. This one is definitely going on our 'make often' list.   

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spinach Swiss Quiche

Its Sunday again and that means something simple around our house.  I'm going to try another Taste of Home recipe which I am going to try to adapt to make it more 'Zone-ful'   Basically, I'm just going to make it without the crust and serve it with some whole wheat bread.  We have several crust-less quiche recipes that we enjoy so hopefully this will be added to the repertoire.  In honor of it being a SWISS quiche I thought I would post a pix of the Swiss Alps Bill took at Scout Camp while we were in Germany.  (Yes, those lucky boys got to go to Switzerland for their summer camp!)  Ok.. everybody in the mood to yodel?  Here is my adaptation- click on the title for a link to the original:

Spinach Swiss Quiche 


  • 1/2 cup chopped ham
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped sweet red pepper
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup fat-free cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon each salt, pepper and paprika
  • handful sliced almonds
  •  sour cream


        * In a small skillet, cook the ham, onion and red pepper until vegetables are tender; drain. Stir in spinach.
         * Spray pie pan with Pam. Put ham and spinach mixture in pie pan.
  • In a small bowl, combine the eggs, cottage cheese, Swiss cheese and seasonings; pour over spinach mixture.Sprinkle with almonds.
  • Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.
  • Serve with sour cream. Yield: 6 servings.

Verdict- This turned out to be about a 4 star.  Bill really liked it but I thought it was a bit bland.  I think next time I make it I will add a dash of cayenne pepper or hot sauce to give it a little kick.  Might also add a little basil.. But, it is a great basic recipe. You could throw lots of different veggies in it for variation.. mushroom, broccoli, peas etc.  Maybe change up the cheese as well. 

    Friday at Home

    I love Taste of Home but their recipes seldom fit into my Zone Diet menu.  This one is probably a stretch too but I was in the mood for a casserole and this seemed fairly close.  I also had some ham I needed to use up.  Same for the Cream of Mushroom soup- I was going to make my own (see the link) but, then, I realized I had one lone can in the pantry that was fast approaching too old.  So I used that instead.  But, NEXT time I am definitely going to try making my own.  I also typically don't use reduced fat products because we've found we usually don't like the taste of those products (or their prices!).  It seems like most 'reduced fat' items just throw in a bunch of sugar and chemicals to try to make it taste ok with the fat removed and who needs that??  Just give me the real thing and I'll take my chances!  Right.  Off my soapbox now.  Here's the recipe with my comments:

     Taste of Home Company Casserole 


    • 1 package (6 ounces) long grain and wild rice mix
    • 4 cups frozen broccoli florets, thawed and drained (I used fresh broccoli that I cut in small pieces then zapped in the microwave for 2 minutes.)
    • 1-1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast (I used thighs)
    • 1 cup cubed fully cooked lean ham
    • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese (regular cheddar)
    • 1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
    • 1 can (10-3/4 ounces) reduced-fat reduced-sodium condensed cream of mushroom soup, undiluted (substitute 'make your own' condensed cream of mushroom soup)
    • 2/3 cup reduced-fat plain yogurt
    • 1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise (regular mayonnaise)
    • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
    • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
    • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese


    • Prepare rice according to package directions, omitting the butter. In a 13-in. x 9-in baking dish coated with cooking spray, layer the rice, broccoli, chicken, ham, cheddar cheese and mushrooms.
    • In a small bowl, combine the soup, yogurt, mayonnaise, mustard and curry powder. Spread evenly over top of casserole; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
    • Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 40-45 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 6 servings.

      Verdict:  Well, Bill and I both gave it an 'o.k.' but nothing to write home about.  Frankly, it was more time and work than it was worth.  I'm not quite sure what the problem was- maybe the yogurt?  I suspect the person who submitted this recipe just substituted plain yogurt for sour cream (which would probably be delicious) but the tang-iness of the yogurt seemed to overwhelm the other flavors.  Anyway, you win some, you lose some.  This will not be on my 'make again' list.


      Thursday, April 15, 2010

      Blue Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

      Ok, this doesn't exactly fit into the healthy, maintenance diet type recipe I've been posting on this blog, but, I had to make some cookies to take to a funeral luncheon today so..I decided I would share.   Just consider this a little 'food torture' moment.  LOL  (No, I didn't cheat and eat any)  These Blue Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies are my very favorite of all chocolate chip cookie recipes I have tried.  I love the oatmeal in them.. makes me feel like they are the tiniest bit healthy I guess.  They are also part of my cooking heritage.  Aunt Ethel, my father's only sibling, shared this recipe with me when we visited them in 1975.  She was a fantastic cook, just like her mom, my Grandma Ellis.  I have been making these since Kelli was a baby so they've been in the family for awhile now.  

      Blue Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies
      1 cup sugar
      1 cup brown sugar
      1 cup shortening (I use butter)
      2 eggs
      2 cups flour
      1 tsp baking powder
      1 tsp baking soda
      1/2 tsp salt
      1 tsp vanilla
      12 ounces chocolate chips
      2 cups oatmeal

      -Cream together sugars and shortening.  Beat in eggs.
      -Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and vanilla.  Mix well.
      -Stir in chocolate chips and oatmeal.
      -Drop by rounded teaspoons on ungreased baking sheet.
      -Bake at 350 for 10 minutes.
      -Cool on wire racks and enjoy with a big glass of cold milk or some ice cream.

      Sunday, April 11, 2010

      Goin' Greek!

           Today we re-visited an old favorite- Greek Turkey Burgers.  The Tomato Feta relish is really what makes this dish.  The burgers by themselves are pretty bland- but together, its a dynamite combo!   

      Greek Turkey Burgers
      1 egg, slightly beaten
      1 pound ground turkey
      1/3 c. whole wheat bread crumbs (toast, cool & crumble)
      1 Tbs buttermilk or sour milk
      2 tsps Italian seasoning
      1 tsp garlic powder
      1/2 tsp salt
      1 medium tomato diced
      1/2 cucumber diced
      1/2 cup feta cheese crumbled
      salt and pepper to taste

      1) In mixing bowl combine the egg, turkey, crumbs, buttermilk, Italian seasoning and garlic powder.  With clean hands, mush together and form into 4 patties. Salt and pepper to taste.
      2) In another smaller bowl, combine tomato, cucumber and feta.  Mix and refrigerate.
      3) Preheat outside grill or oven broiler.
      4) Grill turkey patties- about 5 minutes on each side.  Turkey should be cooked through and not pink.  Serve with tomato feta relish on top.

      Friday, April 9, 2010

      Gotta Love Fridays!

      Its so fun to actually have a day home and time to try out some new recipes.  I've had these on my  'gotta try' list for awhile now.  I love the combination of lime and garlic on chicken so this one seemed like a natural to me.  The only substitution I'm making is fructose for the sugar.  (just cause I'm not supposed to have sugar yet on my maintenance diet)  Normally, I don't think I would worry about that little bit of sugar in a marinade.  I am also cutting the recipe in half for the two of us.
            The cauliflower and cabbage recipe just sounded like a fun one to try. Sides are something I've never been too creative with so I've really been searching for some interesting sounding veggie recipes.  There are a couple more that I've just found that will be coming soon.  Anyway, I picked this particular one since I have just lately discovered that I like cabbage and, of course, cauliflower is always a favorite. It sounds like this one is not something you can just throw together in a hurry, but, that's the beauty of a FRIDAY at home! (YEA!!)
           Oh, shoot!  It helps if you READ the recipe before you jump in.  I just blithely mixed up all the ingredients in the recipe, added the chicken and put it in the fridge.  THEN realized that only the lime juice and garlic should be in the marinade.  The rest of the ingredients are to be rubbed onto the chicken before you grill it.  Hmmm.. well, this should be interesting.  Yeah, I'm thinkin' this could either be really good or really bad.  In that case, this recipe will go on the 'try again' list. Sheesh. Hate it when I do stuff like this!  Crossing my fingers here.

      Craig's Lime-Grilled Chicken

      1 chicken, 3-1/2 lb, cut in half, skin removed
      3 cups fresh lime juice
      6 cloves garlic, chopped
      2 T sugar
      2 T salt
      1 tsp cayenne pepper
      2 tsp ground cumin
      1 tsp paprika
      Put the chicken, the lime juice and the garlic in a plastic bag and seal it. Place in a bowl in the refrigerator and marinate for 4 - 6 hours, turning the bag over every hour or two. Drain the chicken and pat dry.

      Mix the sugar, salt, cayenne, cumin and paprika and rub the mixture over the chicken.
      Grill chicken 25 - 30 minutes on a medium-hot charcoal fire, with some hardwood chunks added for smoke, with the grill lid closed. Turn once. Chicken should have an internal temperature of 160º when served.
      [I accidentally combined ALL the ingredients as a marinade and it turned out fantastic!  I may try the rub another time though just to see if it really is better.]

      Pureed Cauliflower and Cabbage with Green Onions and Parmesan

      (Makes 4-6 side dish servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

      1/2 large head green cabbage, core cut out and cabbage chopped
      1 1/2 T olive oil
      salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
      1/2 large head cauliflower, core cut out and cauliflower chopped
      1/2 cup finely sliced green onions (scallions)
      2 cups chicken stock (or more as needed to cover the vegetables in the pot)
      1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (plus more to sprinkle on top for serving if desired) [next time I will leave out]
      I added a handful slivered almonds for crunch

      Heat olive oil in large heavy pot, add chopped cabbage, season with salt and fresh ground black pepper, and saute cabbage over medium-low heat until it's cooked through and starting to brown, about 15 minutes. Stir it every once in a while so it doesn't get overly brown in some parts. Add sliced green onions and cook about 5 minutes more, until onions are softened.

      Add chopped cauliflower, pour over enough chicken stock to cover the vegetables, and simmer until the cauliflower is very soft, probably close to 30 minutes at a low simmer.

      Mash the ingredients together with a potato masher. You can keep the coarse texture this produces if you prefer, or use an immersion blender or food processor to puree into a finer texture. (Be careful with the hot liquid if you use a food processor.)

      Turn heat back on under the mashed or pureed vegetable mixture in the pan and cook an additional 5-10 minutes on medium heat, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Then stir in the finely grated Parmesan cheese, 2 T at a time so the cheese is well-combined in the mixture. Serve hot, with additional Parmesan cheese sprinkled on top if desired.  Sprinkle with almonds for crunch.

      These were both winners!  Bill and I loved them.  There is only one thing we would change- although we both loved the Cabbage Cauliflower Puree. we thought the Parmesan cheese didn't quite work.  Next time we will leave that out.  But, it was a really terrific dish- even though it is totally made up of favorable vegetables, it was a wonderful fill in for a starch. I didn't miss having potatoes.  Very satisfying!

      Wednesday, April 7, 2010

      Hmmm... Just How Flexible IS This Recipe?

      Well, tonight I started out to make one of my favorite recipes- Crustless Quiche Lorraine.  However, as I got into it, I realized I was going to have to make so many substitutions that I'm not sure it will even resemble the original recipe!  LOL  I think I will go ahead and post the original, because it really is a good one.  I'll put my substitutions in parentheses. Crossing my fingers it will turn out tasty as well! (It should be worth a chuckle anyway.) 
      Crustless Quiche Lorraine
      8 slices turkey bacon, cooked and chopped  [1 cup diced ham]
      1 cup Swiss cheese- grated [1/2 cup Swiss & 1/2 cup cheddar]
      1 medium onion, diced & sauted till translucent in 1 Tbsp olive oil.
      2 Tbsp flour
      4 eggs
      1 cup milk [1 cup plain yogurt]
      3/4 tsp salt [Natures Season Seasoning Blend- I didn't want to add salt- figured the ham would be salty enough]
      1/8 tsp cayenne pepper (don't leave out!)
      handful of sliced almonds- slivered work too.

      -Preheat oven to 350 degrees
      -Lightly grease 9 inch pie plate.  In medium size bowl toss bacon, cheese, onion and flour together.  Spread in pie plate.
      -Mix eggs, milk, salt & pepper together.  Pour over bacon/cheese in pie plate.  Sprinkle almonds on top.
      -Bake uncovered 35-40 minutes or until knife inserted in middle comes out clean.  Allow to sit for 10 minutes before slicing.
       Hey!  It turned out great! I really liked the tangy zip the yogurt added. The only change that I would suggest would be to saute the onions before baking.  They ended up a little too crunchy for me.  YUM

      Thursday, April 1, 2010

      Tuesday Morning..

      Kalyn's Kitchen is one of my all time favorite food blogs.  It is always my 'go to' place when I'm stuck for dinner ideas.  She is a South Beach Diet gal so most of her recipes are Zone friendly, not to mention that they're just plain delicious.  Today we're going back to the grill and I'm trying one of the recipes listed as a 'favorite' on her blog.  I just mixed up the marinade for  'Rosemary Mustard Chicken', plunked in 8 chicken thighs and put it in the fridge to marinate.  And, oh, wow!  Can I just say that if this tastes as good as it smells, we're lovin' life!   
           I didn't change a thing and can hardly wait to taste it tonight. Be sure and go surfing on Kalyn's  Kitchen blog- it is well worth the trip!
      It was every bit as good as anticipated.  The Dijon mustard gave it just the right zip.  It is even better the next day.  Definitely a keeper!

      Tuesday, March 30, 2010

      Omelets Save the Day!

      Ever come home from work too tired to wiggle?  Yeah, me too.  And, Monday was that kind of day.  I sent out 52 referrals, finished up the newsletter, and, thanks to help from 2 sweet ladies, was also able to get the weekly stats sent in.  Whew!  Anyway, by the time we got home I was beat.  Fortunately, I happened to have the fixin's for a killer omelet in the fridge and an amazing egg chef in the house.  I did the sous chef thing- cut up some ham, red peppers, green onion, and tomatoes and grated some Swiss cheese. I sauted everything but the tomatoes and cheese, and then got out of Bill's way.  He is magic when it comes to eggs. Oh, my.  Wish you could have tasted the results.. the most delicious omelet ever!  I zapped some frozen green beans and in no time we had a meal fit for a king.. or a very tired queen!  LOL  Thanks, Honey!  You're the BEST. 

      Sunday, March 28, 2010

      Easy Sunday Meal

      I hate to fuss in the kitchen on Sunday so I usually try to do something really simple that I can just quickly throw together and then into the oven.  Today  it is Herbed Chicken and Vegetables.  Naturally, I adapted it somewhat;  replacing the potatoes with cauliflower due to my diet restrictions.  I also substituted fresh rosemary and thyme for the ground herbs.  That's one of the joys of having an herb garden.  (Have I mentioned before how much I LOVE my herb garden?  LOL)  Oh, since I didn't have a whole chicken  I just used thighs.  Ya have to be flexible.
             Bill and I both really enjoyed this meal.  It isn't an "Oh, my gosh, this is the best thing I've ever eaten!" type dish, but the chicken and the veggies are really very flavorful.  The herbs aren't over-powering but just give a subtle background flavor.  I was really impressed at how well cauliflower filled in for potatoes.  I never met a potato I didn't love so I was worried I would really miss it in this dish, but, the cauliflower was delish and satisfying.  Serve it with butter or thicken the juice into a sauce.  I will probably  try that next time- when I am allowed a little starch.

      Saturday, March 27, 2010

      Stir Fry Friday

      Yesterday I had a RS party so Bill was on his own.  He chose to have his signature green salad with chicken.  You have to see it to believe it.  When he makes a salad, he makes a SALAD!  We're talking HUGE.  And he enjoys every minute of it.  :)  At our party they served all the fixin's for hoagies.  So, I was able to select some sandwich meat and then veggies from the veggie tray.  It was nice to be able to eat something at a social event again.  Its a little awkward to sit there with a glass of water and try not to become the center of the conversation.  "Why aren't you eating?"  "What kind of diet are you on??"  Etc. etc.  UGH
           Anyway, tonight I decided a stir fry would fit the bill.  We love stir fry chicken and veggies around here served with a little soy sauce.. YUM.  But, I decided it would be fun to try a new recipe.  So, I did some surfing and came up with this one from Whisk, a Food Blog that sounded pretty simple.  It turned out to be delicious as well!  (I realized as I was stirring in the the glaze mixture that corn starch was by definition, a starch.  Duh.  So, I kind of blew my no starch rule for this maintenance diet. Rats.  Is stupidity an excuse?)  Anyway, this is really good alone but, of course, it would taste even better with some Chinese noodles!  Bill and I both gave it 4 stars. I didn't follow the recipe exactly.. I think its an easy one to adapt to whatever you have on hand or like.  You can see the real recipe here:  Stir Fry 

      My Slant on Stir Fry
      About 2 1/2 Tbs vegetable oil
      3 chicken thighs, diced (about 1 1/2 cup cooked chicken)
      Basically I used whatever veggies I had in the fridge.
      1 cup carrots, thinly sliced
      1 cup cauliflower, cut into flowerets
      2 green onions, chopped
        1/2 red pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
      1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
      2 cups chopped cabbage
      handful of sliced almonds

      For the Sauce: (I think I would cut this in half next time for the 2 of us)
      ½ cup water
      ¼ cup soy sauce
        1 tsp. ginger
        2 cloves garlic, minced

      For the Glaze: (again, I would cut in half)
      1 tablespoon cornstarch
      ¼ cup water

      To Prepare and Eat Now:  Mix all sauce ingredients in a jar or bowl and set aside. Dissolve glaze ingredients and set aside.

      Heat a wok over medium-high heat and then add the oil. When the oil is hot, sauté chicken until browned and cooked through, about 10-15 minutes. Add carrots and cook, about 3-5 minutes. Add cauliflower and cook, about 3-5 minutes.

      Pour in the sauce ingredients and cook until cauliflower is tender but still firm. Add remaining vegetables and cook, about 3-5 minutes. Stir the glaze ingredients and pour it in. Stir until thick.  Toss in some sliced almonds for crunch.

      To Freeze:
      Undercook the vegetables so that when you re-heat them, they aren't overcooked. Recommended freezing time: 4-6 months.

      To Prepare After Freezing:Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Heat and serve.

      Thursday, March 25, 2010


      Tonight we were back to the grill.  Last night I put some frozen chicken thighs in this marinade and they were thawed and ready to cook for dinner tonight.  Unfortunately, we ran out of fuel just as Bill started to heat up the BBQ grill.  So, he had to run to the store to get another bottle of gas. I had just pulled the foccacia out of the oven and popped the broccoli in.  So much for a perfectly timed dinner!  LOL  Anyway, the chicken did get cooked and it was delicious.  Love this recipe!  I think next time I might use a little less cayenne, it was a little intense.  But, oh, so flavorful.  . The broccoli was kind of a mixed review.  Because it was done before the chicken we had to warm it up again in the microwave.  Probably lost a little something in the translation there.  And, the broccoli was a little old and tough to start with so I'm sure with some fresh broccoli it would make a huge difference.  That being said, I think this recipe has real possibilities. Also, next time I will put the oil and  broccoli in a zip loc to get it well coated. Its not as messy and you also use less oil this way.  I will try it again for sure.
           Not sure what tomorrow will bring.. Maybe an omelet?  Its a little tricky trying to cook without dairy.  I don't think I ever realized how much cheese I use normally. 

      Easy Grilled Lime Chicken
      The Best Broccoli of Your Life
      Pesto/Sunflower Seed Bread Foccacia (for Bill- I can't have starch till April 19th)
      Baby carrots & sliced cucumber

      Tuesday, March 23, 2010

      Wingin' it!

      Well, dinner tonight started out to be Weight Watchers Zero Points Soup, which is excellent by the way.  But, then I discovered I didn't have any zucchini or tomato paste.  Rats. Time for 'Plan B'.  In digging thru my crisper drawer, I found I did have a little bit of cauliflower that needed to be used up and some celery  and broccoli..  In my pantry I unearthed a can of diced tomatoes.. And, in my freezer, was a pound of ground turkey calling my name.. So, can you see where I'm going with this?  LOL  We're nothing if not flexible around here.  What I did end up with was a big pot of what I'm calling Vegetable Turkey Soup-  which turned out to be not only delicious, but, totally maintenance diet compliant . Hooray!  Love it when that happens.  :)

      Vegetable Turkey Soup
      -1 medium onion- diced
      -4 cloves of garlic- minced
      -2 sticks celery- diced
      -2-3 carrots- diced
      -1 cup cauliflower- roughly cut
      -1cup broccoli- roughly cut.  (peel and dice the stems)
      -1/2 head cabbage- diced
      -1/2 pound frozen green beans
      -1 pound ground turkey- browned and seasoned with salt & Bragg Sprinkle Seasoning (good stuff!)
      -1 can diced tomatoes
      -1 quart beef broth

      Spray a large pot with Pam or use 1 tsp of olive oil. Heat pot on medium high and add onion, celery & carrots.  Saute for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic and stems of broccoli- cook for a few more minutes till the vegetables are softened.  Stir in tomatoes, broth, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans and turkey.  Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer till vegetables are done.  I ended up adding a little  water because the broth wasn't quite enough liquid.  When soup is done, taste for seasoning.  (I put in a bit more Bragg's.)

      This was a tasty and filling meal.  Bill topped his off with some homemade bread sticks.  YUM

      Sunday, March 21, 2010

      Real Food!! :)

      Welcome to my new food blog!  I am (finally!) through with my HCG round and am into finding ways to eat according to the pretty rigid maintenance constraints.  Once that is behind me I will be back into cooking in the Zone.  Bill is always complaining that I do a lot of experimenting with recipes but,  then  tend to move on to try something new- managing, in the meantime, to forget which ones we liked so he seldom gets them again.  (short attention span!  LOL)  Hopefully, this will give me a way to document recipes and preserve the keepers.  (See, I love ya, Honey!)
      For the first day, I went back to one of our all time favorite grilled chicken recipes.  I did change it up a bit by adding a tsp of sea salt and 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary.  Oh, my!  This is sooo good!  I like it even better the next day cold.  Somehow the flavors do marvelous things in the fridge over night.  I had some for lunch with sliced apples, a Cutie orange and a big glass of water.  YUM

      Lemon Basil Chicken
      Steamed Broccoli
      Steamed Cauliflower
      sliced cucumbers and tomatoes